Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Poetry Stretch - Poetic Bestiary

I've been reading a lot of books about magical and mythical creatures as of late, so I thought it might be fun to write some poems about these creatures. Not sure what to write about? Check out a few of these links.
So, what kind of creature will you write about? Leave me a note about your poem and I'll post the results here later this week.


  1. Griffin's Stomach Rumbles

    In hunger
    my furred tail flicks
    my muscled hindquarters
    set themselves tightly back
    ready to spring

    In hunger
    my wide wings beat
    my keen eye climbs
    the sky, scans the ground
    ready to strike

    Only my talons and claws agree on
    how to hunt.

    I just can't imagine why it was so easy to choose a mythical creature this morning, except that my daughter and son have such different needs at the moment!

    Thanks for the challenge, Tricia.

    By Steven Withrow

    My Dearest Love,

    This fair morning we died:
    Corncob, Squashtupple, Fortiflax,
    And I, Bellwhisper,
    We four of Loop Forsooth,
    In meadow country of Glisterberry,
    Roused to the bugle of Her Mouseship's
    Twenty-Second Anti-Raptor Infantry,
    Donned bright centurion suits,
    Shouldered buckthorn bayonets,
    And marched to meet our adversary
    At the battle of Low Fernfrond,
    Mellow month of mustard seed,
    Year of white leaf.

    You should know that chief
    Among my thoughts were visions
    Of you and of our pups.
    You'll be pleased to learn not one of us cried,
    Save for young Squashtupple
    Who clutched his thistle rifle like a toy
    And tried to cover a sniffle --
    But you couldn't blame the boy,
    For when the skirmish started in earnest
    And shades of dread Horned Owls
    Cloaked over us like clouds before the moon,
    Even formidable Fortiflax, who fought the Cats,
    Elsewhere, in another year and war,
    Looked no prouder, no stouter than a ghost.

    I hope you find this posthumous post,
    If such can describe my manner
    Of writing you now,
    In aftermath of afternoon,
    Some small consolation for your grief.
    Tell all others whom you pass
    This one unhurried thing:
    Corncob, Squashtupple, Fortiflax,
    And I, Bellwhisper,
    Were mice of tested mettle till last
    Gash of talon and lash of midnight wing,
    At the battle of Low Fernfrond,
    Mellow month of mustard seed,
    Year of white leaf.

    © 2009 by Steven Withrow

  3. Dr. Alastair Dobbs' Notebook,
    Final Entry

    Not a dragon,
    has no scales.

    Not a swamp beast,
    lacks algae.

    Horns, seven.
    Not a satyr.

    Far too large
    to be a basilisk.

    Too many teeth
    to be a minotaur.

    If I could just—

    Color, the black
    of the inside of a grave.


    --Kate Coombs (Book Aunt), 2009

  4. This didn't go at all in the direction I expected.

    Here be monsters

    I stand
    On the pebbled edge of the world,
    my cardboard spyglass
    peering toward the horizon
    at the break in the swells,
    ignoring the tide
    of frustration and rage
    that brought me here.
    After the crashing door.
    After the hail of thundering words.
    After outriding the wind
    on a too-small bicycle.

    The rise and fall of static
    that buzzes around me
    in salted eddies
    half drowns
    that guilty voice behind my ears
    whispering, “Leviathan.”

    Scraped palms
    on barnacled rocks,
    feet scrabbling for grip
    on their soft mossy surfaces,
    I am at last on the top of the heap,
    The conquering hero,
    looking again
    At the small circle of ocean
    within the ocean
    of oceans.

    It heaves and swells,
    a sickly green,
    savaging the waves
    with scales
    and a mighty roar.
    The shock of it
    Knocks the spyglass
    From my hand.
    I watch it disappear in the sea
    Like a drowned bird.

    What is it to drown?
    No Ophelia drenched in flowers,
    but sinew and bone
    flailed raw against the rocks,
    until nothing is left
    But scales and sea;
    and something sucking
    just beneath the surface
    where you can’t quite see;
    something so deafening
    that you can’t quite hear.
    Until you wonder where it is
    that you end and the sea begins.

    And then the tide goes out.
    And then the tide comes in.
    And nothing is any different
    than it was before,
    except the dull roar
    that stays with you
    on the long road home.

  5. Hi Tricia ~ Arnold Böcklin's Medusa inspired this one.


    Peering into the mirror
    stuffy nosed
    and mouth ajar
    I see the hair
    of Medusa
    round my head
    with eyes
    from Böcklin’s painting
    drooping back at me
    and immediately
    to go back
    to bed.

    © Carol Weis, all rights reserved

  6. "The echeneis is a small fish that is often found on rocks. It has the ability to slow the passage of ships by clinging to their hulls." Pliny the Elder, Natural History


    The rocks are barely
    visible beneath the waves,
    yet, I know they are there.
    I half hope the echeneis will

    rise up, make contact, cling
    to me, restrain me, stop
    me from touching the
    edge of the world. Fish,

    or no fish, I know what
    awaits at the end. Sail
    on, sail on. It's too late
    now, to turn back.

  7. Fun! Here's mine:


    East to west,
    two Egyptian fish
    guide the sun-ship
    across the sky over Cairo,
    above the dunes of the Sinai.

    Wouldn't you like to fly
    through the day
    sunrise to sunset,
    a fish twin?

  8. Julie--I love the sunrise-to-sunset image, and especially "cloud-finned/a fish twin"!

    Lots of cool poems here... --Kate

  9. I had such a hard time choosing a creature to write about, but I finally settled on a lighthearted approach to the challenge. (I also feel compelled to tell you all that I've never tried a sonnet before, so read gently.)


    Her house is clean. She's always dressed to kill.
    She only shops the most exclusive stores.
    Her springtime garden bursts with daffodils.
    At Christmas, she's the first to wreath her doors.

    Her kids are on the honor roll, of course,
    Obedient and talented and bright.
    Her marriages is free from threats of divorce.
    She and her husband never, ever fight.

    She's the CPA for a major firm
    And secretary of the PTA.
    And though her to-do list would make you squirm
    She still found time to hit the gym today.

    No one should emulate this mythic beast.
    Imperfect is more fun, to say the least.